Fire Official: Take Illegal Sky Lanterns Off MN Shelves

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You may want to celebrate a summer wedding or graduation with sky lanterns, like those seen in the Disney movie, “Tangled.”

But Minnesota’s head firefighter says this beautiful sight can be much more dangerous than you’d think.

Sky lanterns have already caused fires in other states, including one that turned deadly for a 10-year-old boy.

And they’re illegal in Minnesota.

“You have no control over this,” said State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl.

He’s concerned about where these lanterns will land.

“They land on a house,” he said. “They land in the backyard. They land in a field, in a forest. The fire doesn’t always go out before it goes down.”

Sky lanterns are bold and bright when released in a group, and are often launched during celebrations and festival around the world, especially in Asia, symbolizing the release of worries and problems.

Basically, you light the lantern and let it fill up with hot air. They’re made of paper, wire and a small fuel pad. It’s a type of floating fire ball that goes wherever the wind carries it.

Rosendahl wrote the Minnesota Retailers Association, hoping leaders would share his safety concerns with their 1,500 members.

He wants stores to voluntarily remove these items from their shelves before a Minnesotan gets hurt.

“It’s a dangerous situation waiting to happen,” he said.

The state has received no reports of people launching lanterns illegally in Minnesota.

Rosendahl just wants any desire to use lanterns extinguished, before the next gathering goes from a celebration to an emergency in a flash.

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